“Where the river flows, tomorrow never knows”
The mystery of “what might have been” can haunt you, if you’re in a certain state of mind.
After my eighth-grade graduation, a bunch of my schoolmates went out for pizza. I couldn’t go because of family commitments. Had I gone, perhaps sparks would have ignited with my grade-school crush, the scent of pepperoni having an aphrodisiacal effect that would have led to marriage at 18, kids at 19 and an odd emotional attachment to (now-defunct) Longo’s Pizza of Euclid.
I’m 100 percent certain everything worked out for the best in that particular instance. And now that I think about it, I’m also 100 percent certain that if I actually had a crush on anything or anyone at that time, it was more likely the pizza than the girl.
But what about these 2011 Cleveland Indians? The boys of April. They are, suddenly, encountering their first bout with adversity after suffering a two-game sweep in Minnesota — a three-game losing streak overall, entering tonight.
In the mind of one particular player, closer Chris Perez, the Twin Cities sweep wouldn’t have happened had the hand of fate not churned out a thunderstorm that wiped out Friday’s action. Bad weather in Minneapolis in April? Unheard of. Remember, the Twins went 27 seasons without so much as a home rain delay, let alone a rainout. So this was a shocker. Granted, those 27 seasons were played in the Metrodome, but that’s beside the point.
What is the point, you ask? I’m starting to wonder myself.
Ah, yes. Burgers. Double patty burgers with cheese pouring out of every crevice. They’re called Juicy Lucys (or is it Lucies?). They’re served by Shamrock’s Bar & Grille in St. Paul. Jack Hannahan is friends with the owners. He had a bunch of these gut-busters brought to the clubhouse before Friday’s (non-)game. The Indians devoured them. They were all hopped up on protein and calcium and ready to rock and roll, until rain intervened.
The next day, as Perez tells it, the pregame spread was highlighted not by cheesy beef but cheese and crackers. A real letdown, and, perhaps, a real reason why the boys of April saw their newfound losing ways continue.
What might have been. Somebody get these guys a Juicy Lucy. Or, failing that, some Longo’s Pizza.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
- Tribe-Royals. April 26. Battle for first place. Just what you imagined heading into 2011, right? “I told these kids all along, and I’m sure Manny’s told his kids, ‘Don’t listen to what people say outside,’” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “People get a little too wrapped up in the paper side of it.” The papers might ultimately catch up to both these clubs. And both, of course, are limping into this series. But as I’ll write in my column for MLB.com, the early relevance of these two clubs is good for their cities and good for the game.
- What would not be good for the Indians is an extended absence for Carlos Carrasco. So the team possibly dodged a huge bullet when his elbow MRI came back clean and he was cleared to throw a bullpen session here Wednesday. If everything goes well, Carrasco will start Saturday.
- Our boy Jordan Bastian went all Fangraphsy on us and posted some good info on Shin-Soo Choo’s slow start. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. If you have any interest in advanced metrics and what they can tell us about what we’re watching on a nightly basis, Fangraphs.com is a valuable resource. Acta loves it.
- Speaking of Choo, I’m working on a column on the best outfield arms in the game, and, as you might imagine, he’s up there. There are scouts who believe Choo is hands-down the best in the game, even better than Ichiro ever was because of his quicker release combined with his accuracy. Choo showed me how he transitions the ball from his glove into his hand into a four-seam grip, which keeps his throws from tailing off or sinking. And though he hasn’t been clocked since before he had Tommy John surgery in 2007, he’s adamant that he can still hit 95 mph on the gun. The column runs Friday, so keep an eye out for it.
- And keep an eye out for Alex White, who is now 1-0 with a 1.90 ERA after striking out eight in 5 2/3 innings and giving up just one earned run for Triple-A Columbus on Monday. “He’s throwing the ball well down there,” Acta said. “We’ve gotten some reports that his slider is improving, which is one of his secondary pitches. I’m anticipating that he’s going to be here to help us at some point. The reports we’ve gotten, we won’t be afraid to bring this guy up here. If he has any developing to do, it can be continued up here.”
- I’ll be filling in for Bastian on Tribe coverage on Friday and Saturday, so consider this my attempt to get back into the flow of the minutiae. I hope to have more for you this weekend.